'Smart' potty or dumb idea? Wacky gadgets at CES

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 9, 2013 at 11:03 pm •  Published: January 9, 2013
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WHOT IT'S FOR: 'Brown-thumbed' folk and plants with a will to live.

PRICE: Unknown.

—HAPIFORK

If you don't watch what you put in your mouth, this fork will — or at least try to. Called HAPIfork, it's a fork with a fat handle containing electronics and a battery. A motion sensor knows when you are lifting the fork to your mouth. If you're eating too fast, the fork will vibrate as a warning. The company behind it, HapiLabs, believes that using the fork 60 to 75 times during meals that last 20 to 30 minutes is ideal.

But the fork won't know how healthy or how big each bite you take will be, so shoveling a plate of arugula will likely be judged as less healthy than slowly putting away a pile of bacon. No word on spoons, yet, or chopsticks.

WHO IT'S FOR? People who eat too fast. Those who want company for their "smart" refrigerator and other kitchen gadgets.

PRICE: HapiLabs is launching a fundraising campaign for the fork in March on the group-fundraising site Kickstarter.com. Participants need to pay $99 to get a fork, which is expected to ship around April or May.

— IPOTTY

Toilet training a toddler is no picnic, but iPotty from CTA Digital seeks to make it a little easier by letting parents attach an iPad to it. This way, junior can gape and paw at the iPad while taking care of business in the old-fashioned part of the plastic potty. IPotty will go on sale in March, first on Amazon.com.

There are potty training apps out there that'll reward toddlers for accomplishing the deed. The company is also examining whether the potty's attachment can be adapted for other types of tablets, beyond the iPad.

"It's novel to a lot of people but we've gotten great feedback from parents who think it'd be great for training," said CTA product specialist Camilo Gallardo.

WHO IT'S FOR: Parents at their wit's end.

PRICE: $39.99

—MONDO SPIDER, TITANOBOA

A pair of giant hydraulic and lithium polymer battery controlled beasts from Canadian art organization eatART caught some eyes at the show. A rideable 8-legged creature, Mondo Spider weighs 1,600 pounds and can crawl forward at about 5 miles per hour on battery power for roughly an hour. The 1,200-pound Titanoboa slithers along the ground at an as yet unmeasured speed.

Computer maker Lenovo sponsored the group to show off the inventions at CES.

Hugh Patterson, an engineer who volunteers his time to making the gizmos, said they were made in part to learn more about energy use. One lesson from the snake is that "side winding," in which the snake corkscrews its way along the ground, is one of the most efficient ways of moving along soft ground, like sand.

Titanoboa was made to match the size of a 50-foot long reptile whose fossilized remains were dated 50 million years ago, when the world was 5 to 6 degrees warmer. The creature was built "to provoke discussion about climate change," Patterson said.

The original version of Mondo Spider, meanwhile, first appeared at the Burning Man arts gathering in Nevada in 2006.

WHO IT'S FOR: Your inner child, Burning Man participants, people with extra-large living rooms.

PRICE: The spider's parts cost $26,000. The Titanoboa costs $70,000. Engineers provided their time for free and both took "thousands of hours" to build, Patterson said.

___

Ortutay contributed from New York. AP Technology Writer Peter Svensson and Luke Sheridan from AP Television contributed to this story from Las Vegas.



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